Farm News Editorial
National Farm Safety and Health Week begins Sunday – it’s the 72nd consecutive annual observance. This year’s theme is “Ag safety is not just a slogan, it’s a lifestyle.”
According to the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, agriculture is the second most dangerous occupation in the nation with a death rate at 22.7 per 100,000 workers. Given agriculture’s central role in Iowa’s economy, an emphasis on farm safety is of crucial concern in the Hawkeye State.
Anyone who grew up on a farm or currently lives on one will tell you that the rural life can have pleasures aplenty. The wonders of nature are close at hand. The clean air and exhausting but exhilarating work in the great outdoors become treasured memories as farm kids grow older – especially so, perhaps, when they depart rural life for a more urban setting.
Farms can also be dangerous places for people of all ages. Youngsters, however, can be especially at risk if reasonable precautions aren’t taken. That’s way keeping the young ones safe should be a top concern for farm families.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has issued what it characterizes as the “Top 10 Farm Safety Tips for Kids.” These are the PDA’s important safety admonitions:
- No seat, no rider. Do not allow children to be extra riders on farm equipment, even if they are helping with chores.
- Keep small children from playing on, in or under machinery or equipment. Provide an alternate safe-play area.
- Know where children are before starting machinery and farm vehicles.
- Train and closely supervise youths who will be operating farm machinery and equipment.
- Keep ladders out of reach.
- Keep small children away from large animals, particularly animals that have recently given birth.
- Do not let children under age 12 operate an all-terrain vehicle.
- Keep children from playing on, or in, silos and grain bins or wagons.
- Do not leave children unsupervised around farm ponds or manure pits.
- Hold monthly farm safety review sessions.
The vast majority of tragedies that befall people on farms can be avoided with a little caution and care. Common sense measures are also the key to keeping adults who work in agriculture free from injury. Many of those things that pose risks for young folks can be dangerous for adults who are careless or are inadequately trained for the work they are undertaking.
Any time is a good time to think about safety. It is particularly appropriate, however, during National Farm Safety and Health Week to translate good intentions into concrete actions to enhance safety.
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